[Reading practice] IELTS Reading Test with Answer
READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
Radiocarbon Dating – The Profile of Nancy Athfield
Have you ever picked up a small stone off the ground and wondered how old it was? Chances are, that stone has been around many more years than your own lifetime. Many scientists share this curiosity about the age of inanimate objects like rocks, fossils and precious stones. Knowing how old an object is can provide valuable information about our prehistoric past. In most societies, human beings have kept track of history through writing. However, scientists are still curious about the world before writing, or even the world before humans. Studying the age of objects is our best way to piece together histories of our pre-historic past. One such method of finding the age of an object is called radiocarbon dating. This method can find the age of any object based on the kind of particles and atoms that are found inside of the object. Depending on what elements the object is composed of, radiocarbon can be a reliable way to find an object’s age. One famous specialist in this method is the researcher Nancy Athfield. Athfield studied the ancient remains found in the country of Cambodia. Many prehistoric remains were discovered by the local people of Cambodia. These objects were thought to belong to some of the original groups of humans that first came to the country of Cambodia. The remains had never been scientifically studied, so Nancy was greatly intrigued by the opportunity to use modern methods to discover the true age of these ancient objects.
Athfield had this unique opportunity because her team, comprised of scientists and filmmakers, were in Cambodia working on a documentary. The team was trying to discover evidence to prove a controversial claim in history: that Cambodia was the resting place for the famous royal family of Angkor. At that time, written records and historic accounts conflicted on the true resting place. Many people across the world disagreed over where the final resting place was. For the first time, Athfield and her team had a chance to use radiocarbon dating to find new evidence. They had a chance to solve the historic mystery that many had been arguing over for years.
Athfield and her team conducted radiocarbon dating of many of the ancient objects found in the historic site of Angkor Wat. Nancy found the history of Angkor went back to as early as 1620. According to historic records, the remains of the Angkor royal family were much younger than that, so this evidence cast a lot of doubt as to the status of the ancient remains. The lesearch ultimately raised more questions. If the remains were not of the royal family, then whose remains were being kept in the ancient site? Athfield’s team left Cambodia with more questions unanswered. Since Athfield’s team studied the remains, new remains have been unearthed at the ancient site of Angkor Wat, so it is possible that these new remains could be the true remains of the royal family. Nancy wished to come back to continue her research one day.
In her early years, the career of Athfield was very unconventional. She didn’t start her career as a scientist. At the beginning, she would take any kind of job to pay her bills. Most of them were low-paying jobs or brief Community service opportunities. She worked often but didn’t know what path she would ultimately take. But eventually, her friend suggested that Athfield invest in getting a degree. The friend recommended that Athfield attend a nearby university. Though doubtful of her own qualifications, she applied and was eventually accepted by the school. It was there that she met Willard Libby, the inventor of radiocarbon dating. She took his class and soon had the opportunity to complete hands-on research. She soon realised that science was her passion. After graduation, she quickly found a job in a research institution.
After college, Athfield’s career in science blossomed. She eventually married, and her husband landed a job at the prestigious organisation GNN. Athfield joined her husband in the same organisation, and she became a lab manager in the institution. She earned her PhD in scientific research, and completed her studies on a kind of rat when it first appeared in New Zealand. There, she created original research and found many flaws in the methods being used in New Zealand laboratories. Her research showed that the subject’s diet led to the fault in the earlier research. She was seen as an expert by her peers in New Zealand, and her opinion and expertise were widely respected. She had come a long way from her old days of working odd jobs. It seemed that Athfield’s career was finally taking off.
But Athfield’s interest in scientific laboratories wasn’t her only interest. She didn’t settle down in New Zealand. Instead, she expanded her areas of expertise. Athfield eventually joined the field of Anthropology, the study of human societies, and became a well-qualified archaeologist. It was during her blossoming career as an archaeologist that Athfield became involved with the famous Cambodia project. Even as the filmmakers ran out of funding and left Cambodia, Athfield continued to stay and continue her research.
In 2003, the film was finished in uncertain conclusions, but Nancy continued her research on the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. This research was not always easy. Her research was often delayed by lack of funding, and government paperwork. Despite her struggles, she committed to finishing her research. Finally, she made a breakthrough. Using radiocarbon dating, Athfield completed a database for the materials found in Cambodia. As a newcomer to Cambodia, she lacked a complete knowledge of Cambodian geology, which made this feat even more difficult. Through steady determination and ingenuity, Athfield finally completed the database. Though many did not believe she could finish, her research now remains an influential and tremendous contribution to geological sciences in Cambodia. In the future, radiocarbon dating continues to be a valuable research skill. Athfield will be remembered as one of the first to bring this scientific method to the study of the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 1-7 on you answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage
1 Nancy Athfield first discovered the ancient remains in Cambodia.
2 The remains found in the Cambodia was in good condition.
3 Nancy took some time off from her regular work to do research in Cambodia.
4 The Cambodia government asked Nancy to radiocarbon the remains.
5 The filmmakers aimed to find out how the Angkor was rebuilt.
6 Nancy initially doubted whether the royal family was hidden in Cambodia.
7 Nancy disproved the possibility that the remains belonged to the Angkor royal family.
Complete the flow-chart below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.
The Career of Nancy Athfield
During her mid-teens, Nancy wasn’t expected to attend 8……………………..
Willard Billy later helped Nancy to find that she was interested in science.
Her PhD degree was researching when a kind of 9………………………., first went into New Zealand.
Her research showed that the subject’s 10………………………… accounted for the fault in the earlier research.
She was a professional 11………………….. before she went back to Cambodia in 2003.
When she returned Cambodia, the lack of 12……………………….. was a barrier for her research.
Then she compiled the 13……………………… of the Cambodia radiocarbon dating of the ancients.
After that, the lack of a detailed map of the geology of Cambodia became a hindrance of her research.
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
Are Artists Liars?
Shortly before his death, Marlon Brando was working on a series of instructional videos about acting, to he called “Lying for a Iiving”. On the surviving footage, Brando can he seen dispensing gnomic advice on his craft to a group of enthusiastic, if somewhat bemused, Hollywood stars, including Leonardo Di Caprio and Sean Penn. Brando also recruited random people from the Los Angeles street and persuaded them to improvise (the footage is said to include a memorable scene featuring two dwarves and a giant Samoan). “If you can lie, you can act.” Brando told Jod Kaftan, a writer for Rolling Stone and one of the few people to have viewed the footage. “Are you good at lying?” asked Kaftan. “Jesus.” said Brando, “I’m fabulous at it”.
Brando was not the first person to note that the line between an artist and a liar is a line one. If art is a kind of lying, then lying is a form of art, albeit of a lower order-as Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain have observed. Indeed, lying and artistic storytelling spring from a common neurological root-one that is exposed in the cases of psychiatric patients who suffer from a particular kind of impairment. Both liars and artists refuse to accept the tyranny of reality. Both carefully craft stories that are worthy of belief – a skill requiring intellectual sophistication, emotional sensitivity and physical self-control (liars are writers and performers of their own work). Such parallels are hardly coincidental, as I discovered while researching my book on lying.
A case study published in 1985 by Antonio Damasio, a neurologist, tells the story of a middle-aged woman with brain damage caused by a series of strokes. She retained cognitive abilities, including coherent speech, but what she actually said was rather unpredictable. Checking her knowledge of contemporary events, Damasio asked her about the Falklands War. In the language of psychiatry, this woman was “confabulating”. Chronic confabulation is a rare type of memory problem that affects a small proportion of brain damaged people. In the literature it is defined as “the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive”. Whereas amnesiacs make errors of omission, there are gaps in their recollections they find impossible to fill – confabulators make errors of commission: they make tilings up. Rather than forgetting, they are inventing. Confabulating patients are nearly always oblivious to their own condition, and will earnestly give absurdly implausible explanations of why they’re in hospital, or talking to a doctor. One patient, asked about his surgical sear, explained that during the Second World War he surprised a teenage girl who shot him three times in the head, killing him, only for surgery to bring him back to life. The same patient, when asked about his family, described how at various times they had died in his arms, or had been killed before his eyes. Others tell yet more fantastical tales, about trips to the moon, fighting alongside Alexander in India or seeing Jesus on the Cross. Confabulators aren’t out to deceive. They engage in what Morris Moseovitch, a neuropsychologist, calls “honest lying”. Uncertain and obscurely distressed by their uncertainty, they are seized by a “compulsion to narrate”: a deep-seated need to shape, order and explain what they do not understand. Chronic confabulators are often highly inventive at the verbal level, jamming together words in nonsensical but suggestive ways: one patient, when asked what happened to Queen Marie Antoinette of France, answered that she had been “suicided” by her family. In a sense, these patients are like novelists, as described by Henry James: people on whom “nothing is wasted”. Unlike writers, however, they have little or no control over their own material.
The wider significance of this condition is what it tells us about ourselves. Evidently, there is a gushing river of verbal creativity in the normal human mind, from which both artistic invention and lying are drawn. We are born storytellers, spinning, narrative out of our experience and imagination, straining against the leash that keeps us tethered to reality. This is a wonderful thing; it is what gives us out ability to conceive of alternative futures and different worlds. And it helps us to understand our own lives through the entertaining stories of others. But it can lead us into trouble, particularly when we try to persuade others that our inventions are real. Most of the time, as our stories bubble up to consciousness, we exercise our cerebral censors, controlling which stories we tell, and to whom. Yet people lie for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that confabulating can be dangerously fun.
During a now-famous libel case in 1996, Jonathan Aitken, a former cabinet minister, recounted a tale to illustrate the horrors he endured after a national newspaper tainted his name. The case, which stretched on for more than two years, involved a series of claims made by the Guardian about Aitken’s relationships with Saudi arms dealers, including meetings he allegedly held with them on a trip to Paris while he was a government minister. Whitt amazed many in hindsight was the sheer superfluity of the lies Aitken told during his testimony. Aitken’s case collapsed in June 1997, when the defence finally found indisputable evidence about his Paris trip. Until then, Aitken’s charm, fluency and flair for theatrical displays of sincerity looked as if they might bring him victory, they revealed that not only was Aitken’s daughter not with him that day (when he was indeed doorstepped), but also that the minister had simply got into his car and drove off, with no vehicle in pursuit.
Of course, unlike Aitken, actors, playwrights and novelists are not literally attempting to deceive us, because the rules are laid out in advance: come to the theatre, or open this book, and we’ll lie to you. Perhaps this is why we fell it necessary to invent art in the first place: as a safe space into which our lies can be corralled, and channeled into something socially useful. Given the universal compulsion to tell stories, art is the best way to refine and enjoy the particularly outlandish or insight till ones. But that is not the whole story. The key way in which artistic “lies” differ from normal lies, and from the “honest lying” of chronic confabulators, is that they have a meaning and resonance beyond their creator. The liar lies on behalf of himself; the artist tell lies on behalf of everyone. If writers have a compulsion to narrate, they compel themselves to find insights about the human condition. Mario Vargas Llosa has written that novels “express a curious truth that can only he expressed in a furtive and veiled fashion, masquerading as what it is not.” Art is a lie whose secret ingredient is truth.
Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
Write the correct number, i-viii, in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.
List of Headings
i Unsuccessful deceit
ii Biological basis between liars and artists
iii How to lie in an artistic way
iv Confabulations and the exemplifiers
v The distinction between artists and common liars
vi The fine line between liars and artists
vii The definition of confabulation
viii Creativity when people lie
14 Paragraph A
15 Paragraph B
16 Paragraph C
17 Paragraph D
18 Paragraph E
19 Paragraph F
Choose TWO letters, A-E.
Write the correct letters in boxes 20-21 on your answer sheet.
Which TWO of the following statements about people suffering from confabulation are true?
A They have lost cognitive abilities.
B They do not deliberately tell a lie.
C They are normally aware of their condition
D They do not have the impetus to explain what they do not understand.
E They try to make up stories.
Choose TWO letters, A-E.
Write the correct letters in boxes 22-23 on your answer sheet.
Which TWO of the following statements about playwrights and novelists are true?
A They give more meaning to the stories.
B They tell lies for the benefit of themselves.
C They have nothing to do with the truth out there.
D We can be misled by them if not careful.
E We know there are lies in the content.
Complete the summary below.
hoose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
A 24………………………. accused Jonathan Aitken, a former cabinet minister, who was selling and buying with 25……………………… Aitken’s case collapsed in June 1997, when the defence finally found indisputable evidence about his Paris trip. He was deemed to have his 26…………………….. They revealed that not only was Aitken’s daughter not with him that day, but also that the minister had simply got into his car and drove off, with no vehicle in pursuit.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
What is Meaning
—Why do we respond to words and symbols in the waves we do?
The end, product of education, yours and mine and everybody’s, is the total pattern of reactions and possible reactions we have inside ourselves. If you did not have within you at this moment the pattern of reactions that we call “the ability to read.” you would see here only meaningless black marks on paper. Because of the trained patterns of response, you are (or are not) stirred to patriotism by martial music, your feelings of reverence are aroused by symbols of your religion, you listen more respectfully to the health advice of someone who has “MD” after his name than to that of someone who hasn’t. What I call here a “pattern of reactions”, then, is the sum total of the ways we act in response to events, to words, and to symbols.
Our reaction patterns or our semantic habits, are the internal and most important residue of whatever years of education or miseducation we may have received from our parents’ conduct toward us in childhood as well as their teachings, from the formal education we may have had, from all the lectures we have listened to, from the radio programs and the movies and television shows we have experienced, from all the books and newspapers and comic strips we have read, from the conversations we have had with friends and associates, and from all our experiences. If, as the result of all these influences that make us what we are, our semantic habits are reasonably similar to those of most people around us, we are regarded as “normal,” or perhaps “dull.” If our semantic habits are noticeably different from those of others, we are regarded as “individualistic” or “original.” or, if the differences are disapproved of or viewed with alarm, as “crazy.”
Semantics is sometimes defined in dictionaries as “the science of the meaning of words”— which would not be a bad definition if people didn’t assume that the search for the meanings of words begins and ends with looking them up in a dictionary. If one stops to think for a moment, it is clear that to define a word, as a dictionary does, is simply to explain the word with more words. To be thorough about defining, we should next have to define the words used in the definition, then define the words used in defining the words used in the definition and so on. Defining words with more words, in short, gets us at once into what mathematicians call an “infinite regress”. Alternatively, it can get us into the kind of run-around we sometimes encounter when we look up “impertinence” and find it defined as “impudence,” so we look up “impudence” and find it defined as “impertinence.” Yet—and here we come to another common reaction pattern—people often act as if words can be explained fully with more words. To a person who asked for a definition of jazz, Louis Armstrong is said to have replied, “Man. when you got to ask what it is, you’ll never get to know,” proving himself to be an intuitive semanticist as well as a great trumpet player.
Semantics, then, does not deal with the “meaning of words” as that expression is commonly understood. P. W. Bridgman, the Nobel Prize winner and physicist, once wrote, “The true meaning of a term is to be found by observing what a man does with it, not by what he says about it.” He made an enormous contribution to science by showing that the meaning of a scientific term lies in the operations, the things done, that establish its validity, rather than in verbal definitions.
Here is a simple, everyday kind of example of “operational” definition. If you say, “This table measures six feet in length,” you could prove it by taking a foot rule, performing the operation of laying it end to end while counting, “One…two…three…four…” But if you say—and revolutionists have started uprisings with just this statement “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains!”—what operations could you perform to demonstrate its accuracy or inaccuracy?
But let us carry this suggestion of “operationalism” outside the physical sciences where Bridgman applied it, and observe what “operations” people perform as the result of both the language they use and the language other people use in communicating to them. Here is a personnel manager studying an application blank. He comes to the words “Education: Harvard University,” and drops the application blank in the wastebasket (that’s the “operation”) because, as he would say if you asked him, “I don’t like Harvard men.” This is an instance of “meaning” at work—but it is not a meaning that can be found in dictionaries.
If I seem to be taking a long time to explain what semantics is about, it is because I am trying, in the course of explanation, to introduce the reader to a certain way of looking at human behavior. I say human responses because, so far as we know, human beings are the only creatures that have, over and above that biological equipment which we have in common with other creatures, the additional capacity for manufacturing symbols and systems of symbols. When we react to a flag, we are not reacting simply to a piece of cloth, but to the meaning with which it has been symbolically endowed. When we react to a word, we are not reacting to a set of sounds, but to the meaning with which that set of sounds has been symbolically endowed.
A basic idea in general semantics, therefore, is that the meaning of words (or other symbols) is not in the words, but in our own semantic reactions. If I were to tell a shockingly obscene story in Arabic or Hindustani or Swahili before an audience that understood only English, no one would blush or be angry; the story would be neither shocking nor obscene-induced, it would not even be a story. Likewise, the value of a dollar bill is not in the bill, but in our social agreement to accept it as a symbol of value. If that agreement were to break down through the collapse of our government, the dollar bill would become only a scrap of paper. We do not understand a dollar bill by staring at it long and hard. We understand it by observing how people act with respect to it. We understand it by understanding the social mechanisms and the loyalties that keep it meaningful. Semantics is therefore a social study, basic to all other social studies.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.
27 What point is made in the first paragraph?
A The aim of education is to teach people to read
B Everybody has a different pattern of reactions.
C Print only carries meaning to those who have received appropriate ways to respond.
D The writers should make sure their works satisfy a variety of readers.
28 According to the second paragraph, people are judged by
A the level of education.
B the variety of experience.
C how conventional their responses are.
D complex situations.
29 What point is made in the third paragraph?
A Standard ways are incapable of defining words precisely.
B A dictionary is most scientific in defining words.
C A dictionary should define words in as few words as possible.
D Mathematicians could define words accurately.
30 What does the writer suggest by referring to Louis Armstrong?
A He is an expert of language.
B Music and language are similar.
C He provides insights to how words are defined.
D Playing trumpet is easier than defining words.
31 What does the writer intend to show about the example of “personnel manager”?
A Harvard men are not necessarily competitive in the job market.
B Meaning cannot always be shared by others.
C The idea of operationalism does not make much sense outside the physical science.
D Job applicants should take care when filling out application forms.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 32-35 on you answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage
32 Some statements are incapable of being proved or disproved.
33 Meaning that is personal to individuals is less worthy to study than shared meanings.
34 Flags and words are eliciting responses of the same reason.
35 A story can be entertaining without being understood.
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-H, below.
Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
36 A comic strip
37 A dictionary
39 A story in a language the audience cannot understand
40 A dollar bill
A is meaningless.
B has lasting effects on human behaviors.
C is a symbol that has lost its meaning.
D can be understood only in its social context.
E can provide inadequate explanation of meaning.
F reflects the variability of human behaviors.
G emphasizes the importance of analyzing how words were used.
H suggests that certain types of behaviors carry more meanings than others.
2. NOT GIVEN
3. NOT GIVEN
6. NOT GIVEN
24. national newspaper
25. arms dealers
33. NOT GIVEN